Brooks. Best Meal Ever?

Posted by Brandon |

I have set a goal, I will start blogging again nearly daily on both of my blogs as well as reading all of your fine blogs again on March 3rd. In the meantime, here's a review of Restaurant Brooks in Ventura that I originally posted on Yelp...

With a friend who is a registered nanny in town to help us out, the wife and I got to go on our first date in almost a month after the birth of our little girl. We chose Brooks and it's seasonal cuisine based on all the great reviews on here and the other great press it has received. With all the hype behind Brooks, I had high expectations, even if I was trying to temper them a bit.

Well, no need to temper my expectations; it was even better than any of them reached. Now I'm afraid to over hype Brooks myself. But the meal was so good, I'm just going to have to gush. In fact, I would say that, without question, it was the best meal that I have ever eaten.

We had the five course tasting menu, one with the wine pairing and the other without, and they were nice enough to give my wife (who is still not drinking much being a lightweight after months of not drinking) her own glass for a little taste and with a couple of the wines, basically her own full serving. Every single course was delicious and the wine pairings were all spot on.

As both a way to show you what you can expect out of the five course tasting menu, even though it changes constantly, as well as a way to document for myself my favorite meal ever, here's what we were served, everything ridiculously delicious....

1st Course - Central Coast smokehouse smoked salmon with a whole wheat noodle cake and orange sake sauce.
Wine: Gruet Winery - Brut - Sparkling Wine - New Mexico

I've eaten smoked salmon all my life having grown up in the Seattle area - smoked salmon capital of the world - but I've never had it like this and pairing it with this Brut was amazing.

2nd Course - Wild boar and white bean cassolette topped with a baby arugula salad
Wine: Anglin - Viognier 2006 - Paso Robles

They put the arugula on top of the cassolette and while it sat there, the arugula steamed a little bit and picked up some of the flavor from the delicious cassolette.

3rd Course - Seared ahi tuna with Tobiko caviar served on soft polenta
Wine: Kunin - Pape Star 2006 - Central Coast

Perhaps my least favorite course, it was still arguably the best seared ahi I've ever had. I don't know much about caviar, but here is something I learned - If you take an individual egg in between your teeth and bite down it pops like a balloon and tastes great. We are so refined.

4th Course - Grilled skirt steak with fingerling potato hash, rapini and black pepper sauce
Wine: Old Creak Ranch - Peitie Sirah 2005 - Ojai

Perfectly cooked, perfectly sauced, perfectly potatoed, perfectly paired up with a great local wine.

5th Course - Lemon two ways - Meyer lemon slushie and an almond shorbread lemon bar
Wine: Martin and Weyrich - Moscato 2005 - Paso Robles

Best lemon bar ever! When I bit into the lemon bar, the immediate taste in my mouth was lemon, of course. After chewing and swallowing the lemon bar the taste was more of the shortbread coating. When I took a sip of the Moscato, it had the exact same taste as the shortbread coating, then that slowly went from that taste back to a lemon taste. The wine brought the lemon bar full circle, an almost perfect wine pairing.

The service was outstanding. Our waitress was super friendly, knowledgeable, helpful and genuinely interested in serving us. Owner and chef Andy Brooks made the rounds and said hello and was clearly proud of the food that he was serving that night.

And the space is very nice. The dining room is kind of modern, kind of industrial, but still very warm and inviting and it's all tied together with a great photograph - make sure you read about it's origins.

It was also the most I've ever spent on a meal. $85 for the tasting menu with wine and $55 without wine plus a healthy tip, but it was all very much worth it, especially for a special occasion such as this and the prospect of very few meals eaten out in the near future.

This is it. Ventura's foodie haven. It makes me want to go back through all my Ventura reviews and deduct a star from all of them. I'll just give Brooks a sixth star here, I don't have that kind of time.

Best restaurant between Los Angeles and San Francisco? Maybe. Best restaurant between Tijuana and Vancouver?

But seriously, I don't want to over hype it.


kapgar said...

So what's the significance of March 3?

Brandon said...

It's a Monday.

Craig said...

Hello Brandon:
Enjoying the blog, so much so that I'm linking you. Hope that's okay. See you around the Internets.


Lisa Snider said...

Brooks is the best! The only place in town with a professional wait staff, something not easily found in So Cal.